Leaked Windows 9 screenshots have surfaced previously, but this time we’re getting a closer look at how the desktop is transforming in the future release of Windows. German sites ComputerBase and WinFuture have obtained 20 photos of what the "Windows Technical Preview," which is expected to be made available later this month or in early October. The screenshots, from a very early Windows build provided to close Microsoft partners, provide an even closer look at the new Start Menu, and some obvious changes to the Windows taskbar. The Verge can confirm the screenshots are genuine, but they're an early version of what Windows 9 (or whatever Microsoft calls it) looks like before it ships next year.
Firstly, there’s a new search icon next to the Start button on the taskbar, alongside what appears to be a button for the virtual desktops feature. In later screenshots the virtual desktops feature is demonstrated, with a pane along the bottom of the Windows desktop that allows you to switch between virtualized desktop areas. Windows 8-style apps can also be seen floating on the desktop in several screenshots, with app commands for search, share, play, and settings available in context menus within the apps.
Metro-style icons finally coming to the desktop
Microsoft also appears to be readying new icons for File Explorer, Desktop, and other elements in Windows 9, a change that appears to flatten the UI out slightly to match its "Metro-style" look and feel on Windows 8. There’s also an early look at what appears to be a Notification Center which is accessed from the system tray area of the Windows taskbar. Microsoft is also making slight adjustments to the jump list menus in the taskbar (available when you right-click) to flatten out the UI.
Microsoft Build 2014 keynote in seven minutes
Overall, the changes appear to be early and basic ready for the Technical Preview, but they'll be welcome additions to desktop users who are used to the familiar interface of Windows. The Verge has reached out to Microsoft to comment on the screenshots, and we'll update you accordingly.
Image credit: WinFuture - Windows 9 screenshots